The School Run | A Mother's Tale
Moving house and having a baby are always in top 5 lists of stressful life happenings. I disagree, as they are temporary situations and normally result in a party, congratulation cards and all around back slapping and praise.
Since I embarked on this insane, emotional journey called parenthood, the goal-posts keep changing and the stress of cracked nipples and teething babies (and indeed the combination of both) has been replaced with the fraught school run.
Getting my kids to school on time with the correct homework and a healthy, varied lunch calls on skills that do not come naturally to me. Super organised and exemplary time-management are things I put on my CV and hope I'm not asked to give a single example of or indeed any referees. I need the culinary skills of Jamie Oliver to create fabulous, organic lunches but instead make a ham sandwich EVERY day. My kids have very boring palates and consider a wrap an assault on their way of life. An abundance of patience is required, which I assumed I had. as my Mam would extol this to anyone who cared (nobody did) growing up but I now realise she confused patience with my generation X slacker mentality... i.e. profound laziness.
I have not had to set an alarm since having kids as one of them will wake me at about 7am every morning trying to ease my phone from the charger with exaggerated quietness. I will pretend not to see and try to snooze for a few minutes until someone poos and calls for a “bum check”.
I will make lunches and breakfasts simultaneously, trying to remember everyone’s favourites or I’ll be berated on collection and be subjected to a car whinge (the worst kind... there is no escape). If I’m lucky I’ll have a few sips of tea while doing this.
I get the uniforms ready and realise it’s tracksuit day and Koray’s bottoms are in the wash so I hunt out Conall’s old, threadbare ones and hope he doesn’t trip over them. I know some of you are judging and thinking Oh I do all that the night before... good for you but the bedtime saga takes me about 2-3 hours and all I can do after I eventually get the 3 of them into bed is collapse into my own for some Friday Night Lights.
I have tried to delegate and let them dress themselves but it adds about 45 minutes on to our already tight schedule and watching them struggle with a sock for 10 minutes makes me want to put a pillow over my face and scream so I manhandle them into their clothes and go on the hunt for 3 pairs of matching shoes. Imagine all this chaos with a soundtrack of "Maaaam!" and screams as they simultaneously throw digs and rat on each other. Everyone is cranky and seeking a fight, including me (I'm inciting the name of every saint I can think of and I'm an atheist).
I’ll get them in the car and they’re like a pack of wild hyenas fighting over booster seats, who sits at the window and who can have Mam’s phone. I throw their bags in and let a Mama bear roar followed by some under the breath swearwords and Conall smirkingly asks what FML means. The first part of the journey is fraught with woes, normally Koray, our resident whinger (I mean sensitive soul) and Rian joins in sympathetically as he’s not averse to a good whinge. I threaten all sorts and realise nobody has brushed their teeth and in another fabulous parenting moment give them all some Airwaves to chew on. I spend the second half of the journey apologising for my language and threats and profess my love and wish them all the best for the day. I become less Joan Crawford and more Mary Poppins, possibly to do with the realisation that freedom is in sight.
We screech up late at the school and pile out and I realise I haven’t brushed my hair and there is Weetabix stuck to my leggings. I run past immaculately made up mothers who I imagine to be on their way to a job where they have to get on a ferry and fall in love with Harrison Ford… I deposit my 2 older boys at school, apologising to all I meet for lateness/ appearance/ my existence.
I then give the 3 year old a jockey back to the car as he suddenly feels too tired to move and just this morning he announced he dropped his gum down the back of my top… I still haven’t found it.
I’ll drop Rian off at playschool, turn on the radio and exhale. I arrive home and think we’ve been burgled only to realise my dream of hopping back into bed is just that and it'll take hours to tidy up a mess made in 40 minutes.
I’ll make coffee and check facebook briefly and deal with the washing and dishwasher situation after. In mere minutes the collections begin.